Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marri Ngarr & Magati Ke plants and animals

I was listening to AWAYE yesterday on Radio National  - the program on the Koori Heritage Trust also featured a story on the newly published book  - see post title - a "comprehensive book filled with bio-cultural knowledge of plants and animals in the Wadeye (Port Keats) and Daly River region was launched earlier this year, helping to keep culture alive. 
Awaye - which means 'listen up" in the Arrernte language of Central Australia is an aboriginal art and culture radio program has been going for over 17 years now:

Awaye! 15th anniversary season

new awaye logo5 July 2008 - 16 August 2008
Awaye! celebrates its 15th anniversary, with a selection of its best programs - ranging from the handback of Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park to its traditional owners to the extraordinary story of the Gija people of the north-east Kimberley, and their struggle to keep their community and culture alive. Learn about the history of Awaye! and its presenters over the years. [find out more...]
As soon as I hear the introductory call of this show it takes me somewhere and I have to stop and listen... think what I am doing... "listen up" indeed!

Why I was keen to feature this book on the Homage to the Seed Blog is that I am thinking it may be the first bilingual book of its kind... covering carefully accumulated knowledge from up to 40 different people...one of whom is said to be the last one to speak a particular language important to this book. As such it is an enormously important book. Something I have come to appreciate far more this year is that plants and people are intimately involved and often where a species is becoming endangered so may a language be disappearing ( or have gone).

From the start of the residency I was curious about the plants indigenous to this region...especially edible species for the fact they have been so ignored. We may know what is to be found commonly growing in this region that could be perhaps planted in the garden or at least identified on a walk - but far less focus has been on edible plants... early settlers may well have known more than we do now... but that curiosity did not last for the main...as food became more available it seems most sources of indigenous food were overlooked.

This book has renewed interest already it seems for certain plants... and I think will be well worth a read.

Aboriginal knowledge of flora and fauna from the Moyle River and Neninh areas, north Australia

Marri Ngarr & Magati Ke plants and animals is the largest ethnobiology ever published in the Northern Territory. It is the result of extensive work by over 40 people and contains the Marri Ngarr and Magati Ke traditional names and ecological knowledge for over 660 plants and animals. It also includes the scientific names, English common names and the Murrinhpatha names.
 Ngarul Jimmy Nambatu
 Palibu Patrick Nudjulu
 Lungung Johnny Nama (deceased)
 Kurrangu James Munar (deceased)
 Dittin Aloysius Kungul (deceased)
 Larri Rex Munar
 Killinang Benedict Tchinburrurr
 Mawanyngu Jeannie Jongmin (deceased)
 Yilimu Bernadine Kungul
 Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart
 Mark Crocombe
 Glenn Wightman
Desktop Publisher: 
 Russell Hanna

Batchelor Press logo

Also available at this Publishing Company:

Kunjba wardan baki kunjba jingkal ngambalangi munji munji

Karrwa bush foods and medicines
A group of Borroloola women produced this book to share their knowledge of Karrwa bush foods and the Karrwa language with others. The book is bilingual in Karrwa and English and includes an audio CD of plant names in Karrwa.

Iwaidja shell poster

This poster of shells found on Croker Island and the Coburg Peninsula in the Northern Territory features photos and names in Iwaidja and English


Altoon Sultan said...

These projects––books detailing ancient knowledge of plants and animals––are so important. It's wonderful that the participants shared their understanding before it is lost. I hope similar work is going on around the world.

Sophie Munns said...

Im very keen to read this book ... and as you say Altoon... hear about other similar projects.
Its been quite wonderful listening to the radio whilst working since starting up in the new studio. the space is so much more conducive to switching off from other things... and happily I caught this show yesterday and was able to track it done this morning. Id been searching for a book like this.
thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

So interesting Sophie!!! thank you for all the new information that I am learning via you!

Sophie Munns said...

Its interesting how one thing leads to another... finding the Awaye site connected me to much more that I would like to pursue.
Good to hear frm you mary,

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